Bring on the Food!

So, last night I brought dinner in to a family whose mother is on serious bed rest. Even sitting up brought on the contractions, so she is flat on her back. Needless to say, the Relief Society is bringing in quite a few meals, and arranging various babysitting assignments for her 2 other kids. Now, I don't mind bringing in meals. I actually quite like it, becuase I know the families appreciate it, it gives me a chance to visit with the sister that I can't see at church, and often, it lets me see a brand new baby! (The bulk of our meals is to new mothers). But even though I like to bring in meals, I am not the best cook in the world. I have been known to let spaghetti boil dry (which, by the way, smells horrendously bad), I have burned pans beyond all recognition (just one pan, actually), and on one glorious occasion even managed to use up an entire carton of eggs, just trying to get one serving of scrambled eggs right. I solved the problem simply by marrying a man who can cook. (I got nine cookbooks as wedding presents. I think people were worried about me.) Since then, my culinary skills have improved dramatically - but he is still the better chef. And everybody in my ward knows it. And he likes it that way. And I like it that way. So, now I feel like whenever I sign up to bring in a meal, I have to have him cook it. Since he travels so much now, I feel obligated only to sign up on days when he will be in town. I feel like my meals aren't good enough (even though I can now make a casserole with the best of them), and we have to show off the culinary prowess of DH. How wimpy is that? I truly believe all efforts are appreciated, even the ones where the ward member simply calls in a pizza delivery. Maybe I just want people to know we put forth the best effort we could, by having him make it instead of me. Maybe I just don't want to make dinner for them, because I worry that they will judge my cooking. I don't really know what it is, but I think there just might be a secret competition among Mormons as to who can bring in the best meal. And if DH doesn't cook it, we will lose that competition. And, simply put, I don't like to lose. Oh, and I make the BEST scrambled eggs now. Too bad they don't travel well.


Anonymous Andrea Wright said...

I imagine it to be a big competition too, and am therefore extremely intimidated to bring dinner to anyone. Sadly, my husband is worse than me, so no help there.

When I have a baby and get meals brought in I always assure my husband that people are putting their best stuff out there, and I'm sure they make tacos and spaghetti for their families every night too.

3/16/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

It doesn't feel like a competition to me. I only stress out about whether the children in the house will eat what I make.
I've never needed meals for having a baby. So my only real experience is when the ward brought meals with my husband was diagnosed with cancer with surgery and I was with him in the hospital for all but an hour a day. I would come home and spend that hour with my 11 month old clinging to me (he missed me so much) and talking to all our out of state family on the phone.
I remember some wonderful dinners with desert and everything. One was brought to the hospital even. I really appreciated them and the people who brought them.
Silly me, all this time I thought they brought us nice meals because they cared about us.
I never knew I was a judge in a competition. I guess all their efforts went to waste, because only me, my MIL and my kids saw the meals and we forgot to tell everyone else who provided the best meal and who cooked less than perfect dishes.

3/16/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Well, then, I guess I am just truly paranoid about it. But let me make it clear that 'I know the families appreciate it' and 'I truly believe all efforts are appreciated,' as posted in the blog. There are few things I like better than to have someone else bring me dinner.

I guess I just need to get over my wimpiness. But everyone KNOWS DH is better at cooking, so I feel like they're waiting for some amazing meal if we're the ones bringing it in. And he does make amazing meals for people. I just make adequate meals for people. Clearly, I need some serious therapy.

3/16/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Heather O. said...

Bringing in meals is an interesting phenomenon. Although I have always appreciated the meals that were brought to me when I had a baby, I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to impress. I'll never forget the time I made a hugely elaborate meal for our bishop's family when his daughter had surgery, only to have my own family eat Froot Loops that night. For me, I don't think it's a need to win so much as a need to show that I am a good mother, and bringing in a good meal somehow validates that. And frankly, I'm not so much about winning as I am about being embarrassed, or told that I'm inadequate. Of course nobody would ever say that, and I never thought such a thing about the meals that were brought to me. Maybe the answer is that we're all too paranoid to begin with, and just need to relax about the whole thing. Hmm..good advice that applies to lots of aspects of motherhood, don'tcha think?

3/16/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Perhaps there is a secret, even unconcious competition going on here. Okay, maybe not unconcious. I always feel like I should at least make an effort when I take meals to families to include side dishes - like salads or bread of some sort - that I don't always deem necessary when just cooking for DH and myself. Mostly I just want to put my best foot forward and my purpose is two fold: Give a nice meal to a family who needs it AND to not appear like a schulb who can't make a decent meal. The best meal we were given after the birth of our baby was by a lady who called up and asked us what we liked best from Chili's and then picked it up and brought it over. She is a working woman who just really wanted to bring us some good food, but knew she didn't have the time to just "whip something up." It sure helped cure the monotony of casseroles :)

3/16/2005 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Isn't it just like having a guest? You plan a nice meal, not too expensive, but a step above your usual everyday dinner. Except you don't have to clean your whole house too. So you make enough food for your family and the guests.
Heather, just make the dinner if you want to. I am sure it is good enough.
You could even start making it clear that you are bringing it, not your husband. When you sign up, state either his name or your name.
Does your ward have plenty of people to give meals? Because around here we do, but just barely. The compassionate service people don't want to put a huge burden on the women willing to serve. There is only so much you can feel you can ask of people. When you volunteer, it means some other overburdened member doesn't have to step up and serve.

3/17/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger pate said...

(Not being a mormon, or any other kind of, mommy I post this with some trepidation.)

In our family, I'm the better cook and the designated dinner maker (for us or for meals we deliver). I used to be a bit sensitive to meals brought over when my wife is sick, thinking 'What, don't they know I can cook?'. Fortunately, I've gotten over that bit of pride.

My favorite meal though came when my wife was horribly morningsick. (She lost 25 lbs during the first trimester and spent months hooked to an IV machine.) After having received numerous casseroles and assorted dinners, I was suprised to see the deacons quorum show up on our doorstep.

They trooped in and each deposited part of a dinner on our table. There were homemade rolls, lunchmeats, cheese slices, a bunch of salads, and a couple of desserts. It might not have been the best meal I'd ever eaten, but it was certainly a great experience to see those young men doing something like that. We all learned a bit about priesthood service that night.

3/17/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Heather O. said...


Welcome to the blog! Thanks for your comments. It's always good to get a male perspective. And I've known other men who get slightly offended at the thought that the minute their wife is down, somebody needs to come to the food rescue. What, don't men know how to cook? But I'm glad that you take the meals in the spirit that hopefully they are intended--with love, and a chance to show somebody else some service.

3/17/2005 06:39:00 PM  

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